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Chapter5."Status of Residence" permit

In the event that an international student studying in Japan decides to find a job in Japan, he/she must change the status of his/her "Status of Residence" permit from "Student" to a permit that allows him/her to work.

Visa status types

① A visa status that allows work regardless of occupation or industry type
i.e. "Permanent Resident," "Spouse of a Japanese Citizen," "Spouse of a Permanent Resident," "Long-term Resident"

② A visa status allowing work for a given range of occupations, industry types, and types of work
i.e. "Highly Skilled Professional," "Professor," "Artist," "Religious Activities," "Journalist," "Business Manager," "Legal/Accounting Services" "Medical Services," "Researcher," "Instructor," "Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services," "Intra-Company Transferee," "Entertainer," "Skilled Worker," "Care Worker," "Specified Skilled Worker"

* The "Highly Skilled Professional" visa status is targeted towards those who have above the required total score (points) for academic history, employment history, and annual income combined.

③ A work visa status based on the type of work
i.e. "Designated Activities"

◆"Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services" visa type

In 2018, approximately 90% of international students who were allowed a change to their visa status fell into the "Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services" category.

【Types of activities】

・Activities and/or duties at industries that require knowledge or abilities from those who studied courses in the science, engineering, and other fields in the natural sciences (STEM fields), or law, economics, sociology, and humanities approved in the contracts of Japan's public and private institutions (companies)
・Intellectual activity and/or thought rooted in a foreign culture
・Activities and/or duties at industries where open-mindedness and cultural sensitivity are valued

【Main occupation types】

Accountant, Financial Analyst, HR (Human Resources), Legal Business, Planning, Product Development, Design, Marketing, Public Relations (PR), Advertisement, Interpreter, Translator, Teacher and Instructor of Foreign Language, Industrial/Manufacturing Technology, Research and Development, Engineer, Programmer, Architectural Design, System Administration, etc.


①The candidate must be a university graduate who majored in a subject relevant to the work they will be doing in their industry of choice, or they must have completed an education equivalent to the former. Or, the candidate may have completed a specialized curriculum at a vocational school in Japan (the candidate's completion of the program should be based on the requirements set by the Minister of Justice). Or, the candidate may have engaged in over 10 years of practical experience relevant to their chosen industry (including acquiring applicable skills/knowledge through a relevant major at their university, technical college, high school (or the equivalent), or a vocational school program).
In the event that the candidate aims to work at an industry requiring skills or knowledge related to information processing, the candidate must pass the information processing skills examination administered by the Minister of Justice. If the candidate has already obtained relevant qualifications, there is no need to take the test.

②If the candidate aims to work for an industry that follows the customs and principles of a foreign culture and the work involves translation, interpretation, foreign language instruction, public relations, advertising and/or overseas transactions, fashion or interior design, product development , etc., then the candidate must have at least three years of practical experience related to the industry. However, if the candidate is a university graduate who plans to work in an industry related to translation, interpretation or foreign language instruction, then practical experience is not necessary.

③Foreigners must receive remuneration that is equivalent to or above that of what a Japanese citizen would receive from the company.

【Duration of stay】

5 years, 3 years, 1 year, 3 months *check for updates
*Once a candidate has graduated from university, they can work in translation, interpretation, or instruction of their native language regardless of their major or specialization at their university or work experience.
*In terms of computer-related skills, if candidates passed the information processing skills examination administered by the Minister of Justice or have the necessary qualifications, they can engage in related work regardless of what they majored in at their university.

◆Points regarding the "Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services" visa status

Please see the following 4 points of inspection for those who want to change their status of residence:

①Whether the individual possesses the appropriate skills/knowledge based on their academic history (i.e. their major, research) or other personal history and experiences
②Whether the individual can effectively use their own skills/knowledge to contribute to the work they are interested in
③Whether the individual's benefits and compensation (remuneration) are appropriate
④Whether the hiring company's scale and past achievements reflect stability and a potential for long-term employment, as well as whether the company provides opportunities for the applicant to make full use of his/her skills and experience.

*For further details, please reference the "Change of status of residence permissions guidelines for international students who fall into the categories of "Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services."

◆"Specialized Skilled Worker" visa type

In April 2019, a new system was enforced in which foreign nationals in Japan with particular expertise or abilities are hired due to severe labor shortages. This system is targeted towards foreigners who plan to work for industries seeking individuals with expertise or experience in specific fields. (Bringing family members along is generally not permitted.)

【Specific industry sectors】

The following 14 industry sectors are included: Care Worker; Building Cleaning Management; Machine Parts & Tooling Industries; Industrial Machinery Industry; Electric, Electronics and Information Industries; Construction Industry; Shipbuilding and Ship Machinery Industry; Automobile Repair and Maintenance; Aviation Industry; Accommodation Industry; Agriculture, Fishery and Aquaculture, Manufacture of Food and Beverages, Food Service Industry

*There are 2 types of specialized skilled worker visa, which are "Specified Skills No. 1"visa and "Specified Skills No. 2" visa. "Specified Skills No. 2" visa is targeted towards foreign nationals who plan to work for industries seeking individuals with mastery in specific fields.


Activities specified by employment contracts of Japanese public and private institution (company) sectors designated by the Ministry of Justice in Japan (the Ministry of Justice will determine the industry sectors that are qualified to hire foreign nationals based on their difficulties with recruiting personnel). Industries with activities that require the appropriate degree of knowledge or experience determined by the Ministry of Justice are permitted.

【Main occupation types】

The specific duties or responsibilities vary based on the particular industry sector.
Accommodation services: industries that provide services including reception, planning, public relations, customer service as well as restaurant services at the lodging facility. Along with the normal responsibilities that come with these positions, foreign nationals may also be given other tasks Japanese citizens in these sectors would normally engage in (i.e. sales/marketing within the lodging facility, inspection of furniture/equipment in the lodging facility) in addition to their regular work at the facility.

Food service industry: all food-related services (cooking, customer service, business management)

Please visit the site below to find information on other industry sectors.


  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Achieved a passing score on both the technical skills test (e.g. accommodation: accommodation skills assessment test, food services: food service industry skills assessment test) and Japanese examination
  • Be a "Specified Skills No. 1" visa holder that has lived in Japan for no more than 5 years
  • The company is not permitted to collect a security deposit nor charge a monetary penalty in the event that the employee's actions are deemed a breach of contract (i .e. if the foreign worker decides to terminate his employment period early, he/she should not have to pay a fee)
  • If there are certain fees the employee must pay, they must fully understand the conditions.
  • Foreign nationals have a right to receive remuneration that is equivalent to or above the amount Japanese citizens would receive.

【Duration of stay】

Specified Skilled Worker (i): Updated every 1 year, 6 months, 4 years (maximum duration of 5 years)

Specified Skilled Worker (ii):Updated every 3 years, 1 year, 6 months

*For an overview of the system, please see the link below.

◆ Designated Activities visa type (No. 46: graduates of Japanese universities)

Up until recently, there were no work-specific visas permitting "Status of Residence" holders to work in service industries such as restaurants and retail stores, as well as manufacturing industries. However, recently there has been a growth in the number of enterprises expressing a need for inbound workers. Additionally, these companies believe that bilingual/multilingual employees could act as a bridge between Japanese employees and their foreign employees who lack sufficient Japanese language skills. Thus, there has been a greater need across various industries to hire foreign nationals that are university and graduate school graduates who possess a wide range of knowledge and sophisticated linguistic ability.

In this regard, it is anticipated that international students who graduated from Japanese universities have acquired knowledge and practical abilities, in addition to Japanese language skills, that they can put to good use in their industry. This situation has been officially approved and the candidate is permitted to work under the "Status of Residence 'Designated Activities No. 46'" visa status.


A foreign national is permitted to work in a wide range of industries under the condition that he/she has graduated from a public or private Japanese university and acquired a wide range of knowledge and practical abilities, in addition to a high level of Japanese. However, there are certain industries or jobs that require individual certifications (i.e. state examinations), and thus this visa does not allow such types of work without being certified, nor does it permit working in the sex industry.

【Main occupation types】

  • Working at a restaurant: engaging with foreign customers, including translation (as well as engaging with Japanese customers).
    *Doing work that solely involves washing dishes in the kitchen or cleaning is not permitted.
  • Working at retail stores: in addition to stock replenishment and commodity management, providing customer service, including engaging with foreign customers who need translation help (as well as engaging with Japanese customers).
    *Doing work that solely involves putting products out on display or cleaning the store is not permitted.
  • Working at a hotel or Japanese inn (ryokan): creating and/or updating pages for the website in foreign languages, doing translation work for foreign customers, and managing foreign bell staff or doormen who provide customer service (as well as engaging with Japanese customers).
    *Doing work that solely involves cleaning the rooms is not permitted.


  • This system applies only to foreign nationals who graduated from four-year Japanese universities or from Japanese graduate schools. It does not apply to graduates of junior colleges or vocational schools.
  • Foreign nationals must have passed the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) N1 or scored above 480 on the Business Japanese Test (BJT).
    *Individuals who majored in "Japanese" at their university or graduate school either in Japan or in their university overseas are considered to have met the Japanese language requirement (In addition, individuals who majored in "Japanese" at their university or graduate school need to graduate from Japanese university or graduate school as well).
  • Foreign nationals must receive remuneration equivalent to or above the amount that a Japanese citizen would receive, etc.


5 years, 3 years, 1 year, 6 months, 3 months *check for updates

(Supervised by Manabu Kubota,

Visiting Researcher of JASSO)